Knock, knock: Special Census workers will start enumeration soon, making rounds through city


By Anna Skinner

In the past, people have been told not to open their doors when a stranger comes knocking. However, the city is asking for an exception to that rule as employees will soon be making rounds for a special census.

“Residents will likely see census enumerators going through their neighborhoods conducting interviews. These interviews should last about 10 minutes,” said Zach Burton, communications specialist for the city of Westfield. “Census workers will be identified with a badge. It’s important for residents to remember that all information given to a census worker is private.”

According to Burton, due to Westfield’s rapid population growth, the 2010 census is no longer accurate. By allowing a special census, the city can receive proper funding amounts from state and federal agencies.

“The special census means that the city will be able to compete for state and federal dollars at a more appropriate level to our population, and that the needs of our community will be better met,” Burton said. “It also means residents have the opportunity to help their community by answering the door when census enumerators stop at their address. Each interview by the Census Bureau with a resident contributes to our community. Every resident counts.”

Data collected from a census is used by the federal government to properly distribute dollars at the local level for services used by the community. These services include healthcare, schools, transportation planning and senior services. Data can also be looked at by potential businesses to determine a satisfactory place to open a new store.

City Councilor Rob Stokes is one of the census workers going door-to-door.

“It is very important for everyone in the city to participate in the upcoming special census … This will allow us the opportunity for additional funding from the state for improvements such as filling potholes, adding roundabouts and other road improvements,” Stokes said.

The special census will cost the city $625,000 to complete, yet the annual revenue after the initial cost is estimated at $330,000. The money the city receives will go toward infrastructure, education and public works planning.

“So much of how we receive funding from state and federal agencies is tied to per capita calculations,” Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said.  “With so much growth happening so quickly in our city, we want to make sure we have the most accurate information available when it comes time to seek dollars for our community.”

According to 2014 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Westfield’s recent growth has outpaced all other Hamilton County communities. Since 2010, the population has increased by 17.4 percent, which brings the population number to 35,297.

The city is conducting testing for the applicants, and enumeration will begin in November.

“It is important that people realize their participation truly does matter in this endeavor. Every resident counts,” Burton said. “By simply answering the door and providing accurate information to census enumerators, residents are contributing to our community’s efforts in competing for federal and state funding.”

2010 census by the numbers

Population: 30,090
Lived at the same house for more than one year: 89.2 percent
Language spoken other than English: 5.9 percent
Housing units: 11,209
Persons per household: 2.83
Median household income: $87,435
Persons below poverty level: 6.1 percent
Persons per square mile: 1,120.4
High school graduate or higher: 95.9 percent
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 56.6 percent
Median value of owner occupied homes: $217,400
Source: U.S. Census Bureau


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